When Ray Rice steps out of the shadows and into a radio studio, as he did Thursday with WFAN's Boomer & Carton Show in New York, how do you think he sees himself first? As an unemployed, down-on-his-luck running back? Or as a contrite husband and father, an advocate for domestic-violence victims?
In interviews like this, it's hard to tell. The first question he got, from former Maryland and NFL quarterback Boomer Esiason, was about whether anyone has shown interest in a player who last played in 2013, and who wasn't even all that good then.
"It's been a process where there's been some activity, and then obviously, we know that things haven't happened, but for the most part, for me, I've been really just trying to stay in football shape, staying ready, doing what I have to do and let the agents take care of that part," the former Ravens star said. "But it is something that I am going to keep pushing to do. I do want to play football again."
They talked some more about how Rice got there, with him acknowledging that his assault on his now-wife in a casino elevator last year was "the worst decision I made, but I realize that it really came down to decision-making, and the decision I made was the most horrible decision I've ever could have made." Rice said it shouldn't take graphic images for the public at large to realize the scourge of domestic violence, and added: "It's one of the most horrible things you can be a part of and be associated with."
He said he has spent time learning more about domestic violence, the severity of it and how he can help others, even Dallas Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy.
Hardy was found guilty this summer of assaulting his then-girlfriend (Hardy and his now-ex-girlfriend reached a settlement, and his record was later expunged) and disgraced recently by newly released pictures of his ex-girlfriend shortly after she says he attacked her.
"When I look at a guy like Greg Hardy, I think of the situation as something like, 'What can I do to help him?'" Rice said. "If I was able to have a sit-down with Greg, I would tell him everything I've done, everything that transpired in my life, so you can understand the severity of domestic violence. There's different levels to understanding this. It's not an overnight process."
Said Esiason: "You're a shining example of what can happen to somebody when things go off the rails."